Title: Ready For You
Series: Ready #3
Author: JL Berg
Publication Date: May 26, 2014
Summary: A second chance at first love.
Eight years ago, Garrett Finnegan’s world shattered the day Mia vanished from his life. He’s been struggling to pick up the pieces ever since. Haunted by memories and ghosts of the past, he chooses a solitary existence rather than risk his heart again.
Mia Emerson has made one wrong decision after another but none worse than walking away from the boy who stole her heart so long ago. When her new life is turned upside down, she finds herself returning to her roots and the hometown she left behind. Maybe now she can find a way to heal from the devastating mistakes of her past.
When a chance encounter brings these former lovers together, passion reignites in a way neither is prepared for. Can Garrett move beyond his anger and find a way to forgive? Will Mia’s insecurities and fears cause her to once again flee the life she’s destined to live?
Garrett and Mia will soon discover that they must journey into the past to find their way home.
Ready for You – The Setting
When I was picking a setting for the Ready series, I decided to go with my home—Richmond, VA. Many know I’m originally from California, but over the years I’ve adopted Virginia as my new home. I love watching the seasons change and I do enjoy a hush puppy or two.
I do this sneaky thing in my books where I will have a character or characters go to a location. It is a real location—it exists in Richmond, but I won’t name it. I’ll describe it in detail but won’t actually say where they are
Locals love guessing what these vague locations really are. Over the course of the series, my sharp readers have figured out that Clare and Logan live in Hanover, a small little county outside of Richmond, and some even guessed Logan’s historic home is located in Ashland. Correct!
The cemetery Declan and Leah walk through is indeed the Hollywood cemetery and Clare and Logan’s date to the theater was at the Carpenter Center. (which is now Center Stage)
Now, for Garrett and Mia.
They are younger than any of my previous characters. I didn’t see them living in a quiet neighborhood or even an apartment building outside of town.
I put both of them in Carytown. Carytown is young and vibrant; full of old homes and fun, quaint shops and restaurants.
Mia’s house is crucial to the storyline and serves as a backdrop for most of the story’s setting. It is what brings Garrett and Mia together and ultimately keeps them coming back for more. I mention the door on multiple occasions—Garrett finding himself at that damn door more times than he can count. They even, ahem, do intimate things against that door. It’s not an accident. The house is significant and I wanted to make sure readers knew just how important it was.
Creating the setting for the Ready series has been fun. I enjoyed bringing my adopted home into my writing and it allowed me as a new writer to create in an environment I was comfortable in, which only helped me grow and expand my craft.
With our bags loaded, we started to make our way back to the car, weaving through the crowd and enjoying the sounds of people talking and soft music playing. I smiled when I heard a child laughing. I turned to see a child being thrown over his father’s shoulder.
“Garrett! Stop it! I’m too old to be carried!” The child laughed.
“You’re never too old to be tackled, Connor! We’ve got to get you ready for football!”
That voice—even after eight years, I would recognize it anywhere. My stomach fell to the concrete, and my feet cemented to the ground. I was frozen, completely frozen. Everything slowed. The street noise melted away, and each and every shopper disappeared until I saw him. He had the boy slung over his shoulder. They were both laughing and breathless from their horseplay. He looked older, but it was still him. He still had the same jet-black hair, emerald eyes, and dazzling smile. A beautiful blonde woman was smiling at the two of them as they joked around.
My heart finally caught up to my brain, and it felt like a jackhammer was beating hard and fast in my chest. My hands shook, and my knees suddenly felt weak and wobbly. I had no idea how much time had passed since I saw him.
I didn’t know, but it couldn’t have been long since Liv was just now noticing my crazy behavior.
“Amelia, are you okay? You look like you just saw a ghost,” she said.
When I didn’t respond, she must have glanced up because I heard her gasp. She’d seen him, too.
“I-I need to get out of here—now,” I gritted through my teeth.
“Are you sure?”
I just nodded and started to turn. I couldn’t face him. He probably hated me.
He had a kid. That hurt. My hand went to my chest, trying to rub out the pain settling there. He had a child. That meant the blonde standing next to him was probably his wife. Garrett was married. It had been eight years. Of course he would be married. I didn’t know why I was surprised, but he wasn’t supposed to be here. He had moved away. He was supposed to stay away. I couldn’t be here if he was still here. I couldn’t breathe if he was still here.
“Come on, sweetheart, let’s get to the car,” Liv said gently, grabbing my arm and guiding me toward the car.
I just gave a brief nod as I let her lead me.
We hadn’t made it three steps before I heard the words that made my heart come to a screeching halt.
“Mia? Mia, is that you?”
J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.